After the weekend’s bombings in New York and New Jersey and knife attack in Minnesota, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump traded blows Monday on who was more capable of fighting terrorism at home and abroad.
Speaking with reporters on the tarmac of the Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York, on Monday morning, Clinton, the Democratic nominee, said her Republican opponent’s bombastic language had aided enemies of the US.
“We know that Donald Trump’s comments have been used online for recruitment of terrorists,” Clinton said. “We’ve heard that from former CIA director Michael Hayden, who made it a very clear point when he said Donald Trump is being used as a ‘recruiting sergeant’ for the terrorists. The kinds of rhetoric and language that Mr. Trump has used is giving aid and comfort to our adversaries.”
Trump fired back in a statement, saying the country needed to “get tough fast” to make sure attacks like the bombings on the East Coast and the mass stabbing at a Minnesota mall didn’t “become the new normal.” While ISIS, the terrorist group also known as the Islamic State, ISIL, or Daesh, claimed responsibility for the Minnesota attack, the specific motives in the bombings remained unclear Monday.
“Today, Hillary Clinton showed again that she will say anything – and blame anyone – to shift attention away from the weakness she showed as secretary of state,” Trump said in the statement. “The Obama-Clinton doctrine of not taking ISIS seriously enough has emboldened terrorists all over the world. They are hoping and praying that Hillary Clinton becomes president so that they can continue their savagery and murder.”
- REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Clinton outlined how she had a specific plan to defeat ISIS abroad and to prevent attacks at home – something she said her opponent lacked.
“You don’t hear a plan from him,” Clinton said. “He keeps saying he has a secret plan. Well, the secret is he has no plan. Let’s focus on what we really can do. What I’ve laid out is a path forward that will keep us safer, protect our country, and go after the terrorists to finally destroy them.”
Accusing the Obama administration’s immigration policies of weakening national security, Trump mentioned his proposal of “extreme vetting” of immigrants trying to enter the US.
“When I am president, terrorists like today’s suspect in the New York and New Jersey bombings, Ahmad Khan Rahami, and yesterday’s knife-wielding ISIS sympathizer in Minnesota, Dahir Adan, will be stopped,” Trump said in the statement. “We will not look the other way. We will not allow political correctness and soft-on-terror, soft-on-crime policies to threaten our security and our lives.”
Watch Clinton’s remarks below: